INDIANAPOLIS – Ohio Dominican's baseball team was picked to finish second in the G-MAC North Division in voting conducted by the conference's head coaches.
The Panthers picked up 45 points, including a pair of first-place votes. Malone was projected to win the North Division after garnering nine first-place votes and 58 total points.
ODU finished its last season in the GLIAC with a 25-24 overall record and a 16-16 conference mark. The Panthers return six position players who made at least 26 starts last season and seven other position players with starting experience to a batting order that hit .324 last year with 58 homers and 79 stolen bases. The Panthers were 13th in the country in slugging percentage, 17th in batting average and 21st in homers per game in 2017.
Senior Justin Childers (Pickerington, Ohio), a consensus All-American and Midwest Region Player of the Year, returns after leading Division II in batting average (.451) and slugging percentage (.846) while ranking fifth in on-base percentage (.526). He had 14 home runs, 17 doubles, five triples, 60 RBIs and 18 steals.
Junior catcher Colin Kaucher (Toledo, Ohio) batted .362 with three homers, 15 doubles and 42 RBIs last spring and was an Honorable Mention All-GLIAC selection. Junior outfielder Noah Bland (Oberlin, Ohio) batted .320 with three homers and 15 stolen bases, senior outfielder Cody Paterniti (Chardon, Ohio) hit .304 with six steals, and junior outfielder Genesis Hillard (Cincinnati, Ohio) batted .279 with four homers and 35 RBIs. Also back is junior infielder Brad Hull (Gahanna, Ohio), who batted .333 in 21 games in April.
The pitching staff returns plenty of experience as well, paced by junior Brad Wilson (Alexandria, Ohio), who went 6-3 with a 3.86 ERA last spring. In two seasons, he's 11-7 with a 3.72 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 125.2 innings. Also back is senior Matt Kittelberger (Massillon, Ohio), who went 5-1 in nine starts, tossing a pair of complete games. Junior southpaw Garret Sendelbach (Tiffin, Ohio) won four games last spring and classmate Mitchell Bault (Maineville, Ohio) walked just nine in 49.0 innings pitched with 38 punch outs.
Ohio Dominican begins its season with a three-game series at Georgia Southwestern Feb. 10-11.
Contact: Scott Miles